NPD reveals lockdown sales trends in the UK

Published on: 30th April 2020

One in three Britons spends more time playing board games now vs pre-lockdown, NPD data shows. 

The NPD Group has today released data on the board game and toys playing habits of Brits and Europeans during lockdown confinement. According to the latest consumer research, 31% said they had played with games and toys more since the start of lockdown. This compares to 37% in France and 27% in Germany. The growth of play is more marked among 18-34 year olds and parents of young children – 47% of both these groups said they’d spent more time on play. At 24%, the same is true of those without children too.

With no end in sight to UK restrictions on movement, finding new ways to entertain the household is in many people’s thoughts, and toys and games figure prominently in their planned purchases to ease boredom. One quarter of Brits plans to buy toys and games before the end of lockdown, which is more than the Germans (18%) and the French (21%).

Sales of games and puzzles increased by 42% since the beginning of the year to 18th April. They represent 13.2% of all toy sales by value, compared to 9.4% for the same period a year ago.

While board game sales dominated during the week pre-lockdown (peaking at 21% of total toy sales in between 15th and 21st March), the outdoor category has been the largest by far since then, with 29.3% of sales and a spend of £7.7m in the week of April 12th to 18th. That represents a growth of 1.7 points in market share compared to the same period last year. Among the top 10 best-selling outdoor toys for the latest week of data are classic early spring items such as ride-ons from Little Tikes and Mookie Toys, sports toys like the Wubble Bubble from Vivid, splash pools, water balloons, bubble toys and Nerf blasters.

Frédérique Tutt, global toy market expert for The NPD Group, commented: “During lockdown, leisure and play activities have taken a central place in family life. With the arrival of sunny days, parents want to see their children play outside and get fresh air where they can, especially if they are lucky enough to have a garden. This could continue if travel remains limited during the summer holidays.”


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